Undaunted GAIL places order despite MP's threat

Vol 6, PW 24 (12 Feb 03) People & Policy

IGNORING AN MP is inviting trouble in India but GAIL is confident of its decision and determined to take a risk despite Singh's allegations of corruption and foul play.

GAIL tells this reportit, "has had a detailed look into" Singh's complaints about the pipeline tender but finds them "baseless". More, on 28th January it went ahead and placed an order for the supply of 600-km pipes of 42-inch diameter with three Indian companies to begin the pipeline construction.

"There is no question of cancelling the order," a GAIL source tells PETROWATCH. "The tender was decided in a fair and transparent manner.

It was an international competitive bidding tender. We don't know what interest the MP has.

There was no conspiracy to eliminate any supplier. Bids were rejected because they did not meet our criteria." GAIL tells us its board of directors discussed the bids threadbare "at three separate board meetings" and endorsed the management decision on each occasion.

GAIL even consulted Shastri Bhawan about the decision following Singh's complaints. "Various levels of oil ministry officials right up to the top have seen the papers and have agreed with our decision." Three Indian pipe manufacturers will meet GAILs order.

Saw Pipes will supply 250-km, Welspun India 200-km and MAN Industries 140-km ofpipeline. GAIL says the pipes will arrive from 1st April onwards and construction will begin in May or June.

By the end of this month, GAIL hopes to receive bids to lay the pipeline. "The contract will be awarded mid-April."